Immigration and public opinion: understanding the shift

2017-05-04T03:39:19Z (GMT) by Betts, Katharine
Opposition to immigration has declined since 1996. This paper examines reasons why this has occurred. It finds that most Australians do not want population growth but a number of factors which previously fed opposition to immigration have declined. Unemployment has fallen; migrants can no longer access social welfare on arrival; family reunion has shrunk while skilled migration has grown; and structural multiculturalism is no longer promoted. It is also probable that most Australians think that the cuts made to the program after 1996 were larger than they actually were and that they do not understand the implications of the recent increase. But opinion is not uniform. Residents of outer Sydney are more concerned about immigration than others and a majority of Australians want fewer migrants from the Middle East. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s